Saturday, 21 April 2012

Vitrac St Vincent - an afternoon walk

At the end of March, we went out walking with the leisure group again. We set off from the church in Vitrac St Vincent for a ramble  which the leaders said would be about 6km (4 miles or so). To read more about the village, take a look at my post HERE

Turning immediately down a narrow lane, we found ourselves next to the small stream that runs westwards towards Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure, and the first things to take my eye were the lovely curled hinges on this barn door. Some old-fashioned craftsmanship executed on a humble barn!
 Looking back the way we had come, I took this view of Vitrac, an angle that we would not normally see from the road, as the village is in a deep valley and the road drops steeply from both approaches down into the valley, giving views only of the rooftops! In the background is one of the hills, down which the road comes from the east side.
 The group ambling along in front of me

The hawthorn was quite spectacular, the blossom no doubt coming out in response to the unusually warm and sunny weather.

the cowslips were no less stunning

and the celandines.  Sadly we did not get to view the sea of blue that would be there now, as the bluebells we passed were only just coming into bud.

This is the first time I have ever seen a scarecrow to keep the herons away;  this  privately owned pool obviously is a good fishing spot.
 A bit further along, we encountered this small building, which the locals were describing as a chapel, at Saint Vincent. (A small hamlet that comes under the commune of Vitrac Saint Vincent).
 As we got closer, this old cross was prominently sited
and, walking around the back, we discovered that the door was open, revealing a small chapel and crypt. There was a small altar on the far wall, and the space also contained
6 large tombstones, two vertical and 4 horizontal.  The building seemed to be a family crypt, with the burials dating from the early 1800's to the earlier part of the 1900's.  Ages of the deceased varied from middle 70's to the youngest at 20, but the later deaths seemed unrelated to  WW1.   The place did look rather unkempt and neglected, but my guess is that the family still lives in the area.
More steps took us to this barn, which looked as if it had not been used for some time. Not unusual in these parts!

and I was fascinated by this delightful door chime.

Some more turnings, and another lane brought us to  Le Logis de Saint Vincent.  Logis (lojh-ee) means "home" or "dwelling" in French. Whilst these walls now enclose the premises of a company whose business is concerned with drainage equipment, we do know that in the 1940's, the large multi-storey complex was used as a type of orphanage. This may have been the original purpose of the building, as it was clearly built much more than a century ago.
At the back of the building is this large pool, where we understand that some of the orphanage children used to fish.

Heading for home, we saw this quite elaborate but modern stone post box at the entrance to a residence

followed by the usual view we see of Vitrac Saint Vincent, the roof tops!

 We finished the walk back at the church and the 6 kilometre round trip was confirmed.  Not really that far, but much to see!!
We ended the walk with coffee and cakes at one of the picnic tables provided by the council on a grassy area across the road from the church, and next to the stream.  The walkers all seemed to enjoy the outing and were pleased to relax in this  tranquil spot at the end of a very hot and sunny March day.

Please check out my new blog 

74 comments:

  1. It would be fun to see the countryside on horseback. Thanks for the pics. I just took a few minutes and went on a little mini-vacation.

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  2. It looks like you had a fabulous walk! The chime on the door is gorgeous! I must take a peek at your new blog:) Have a lovely weekend!
    ~Anne

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  3. Lovely and interesting images Diane - what can I say about all those rock works ... you know how crazy I am about rock buildings ...

    what's your prediction for the French elections? ... or do you stay well away from politics?

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  4. My word! What a lot to see in 6km! A really interesting post, Diane. x

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  5. Stephen I agree horse back would be a perfect place to be, to ride around these places. Certainly walking we do not find easy other than short distances. Cycling is also a good way to see many of these places, but we do not cycle off road so a lot is missed. Diane

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  6. Anne I loved the door chime, very unusual. Have a great weekend. Diane

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  7. Graham I would love you to see the buildings here in France, you would just love them. There are so many interesting stone buildings in various states of repair and disrepair!

    As for the elections we will have to take what comes. We would have to be citizens to vote and at present we are only residents. Think it is about 5 years before we can become citizens and I do not know if we would bother. Time will tell. :) Diane

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  8. Colin and Elizabeth it amazes me how much there is around when out with the locals. They know of places not on any map or tourist guide! We were lucky that it was perfect weather as well. Diane

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  9. Right now Diane, I think this walk would be just perfect for me.
    Unfortunately, no such beautiful nature in my area, so I might just have to go to my local park. It is a lovely park, but I know it inside out. Still, being one with nature might just do the trick.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Red

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  10. Really admire your photos.. Peace of mind to me..

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  11. Boye By Red we are so lucky here that there is so much to see in every direction. I love being with nature it is great for the mind and very relaxing. Diane

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  12. ogyep yummy mellow so please you feel peaceful after reading this post. take care Diane

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  13. Joining a walking group really does seem to be the way to discover more about the beautiful area you live in. Interesting post.

    I'm now going to check out your new blog...

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  14. Une belle promenade. Merci Beaucoup.
    See soon.

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  15. nice easter pictures and interesting walk!

    Life and travelling
    Cooking

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  16. Diane, your walking group is great with all the intriguing places to walk! I love all those red doors and the door chimes are pretty cute. The chapel with the crypt is interesting too. No such places to walk in our small town! Have a good weekend!

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  17. Gaynor B We have seen things we would never have discovered by joining this leisure group. Being elderly locals there is very little that they do not know about their own area, or all the stories of the resistance. Diane

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  18. Nadji, merci, bon week-end. A très bientôt. Diane

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  19. Ola thanks for the visit and the comment. Keep well Diane

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  20. Pam we have really enjoyed the company of this leisure group despite the language problem. Nigel is way ahead of me having learnt French at school so he gets most of the information. Have a great weekend Diane

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  21. I have so enjoyed reading about your walks. It really is wonderful for you to have found this group -- and it must also be very good for your French as well.

    I love the red doors and curly hinges, and the door chimes. And that post box is a real treasure -- imagine being able to use it to post your letters! Also, I am a real sucker for chapels -- they really are good for the imagination. Charming walk and really not to long -- as long as you're allowed to 'amble' and not rushed!

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  22. The Broad, the days with the leisure group have been great and we have enjoyed all our time with them. It certainly improves Nigel's French as he is able to speak quite a bit to them. As for me, I am not getting better at all, in fact probably worse as Nigel does all the talking!

    That little chapel was quite different to anything I have ever seen before. Yes we do amble but we both find that quite difficult as we end up with backache and Nigel has a problem with his feet. Walking properly would be much easier even if we do not stride out. The group is mainly quite aged though and ambling suits them! Have a good Sunday Diane

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  23. Love the walk, so nice to see all the little treasures of old buildings and stories. I would love to go on walks like this but there are none to be had here in my area. Have a great weekend.

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  24. Hello Diane:
    It is such a good idea to go on walks with a group as the whole activity becomes so much more companionable and enjoyable.

    This tour looks most interesting with, as you say, so much to see in a relatively short distance. The countryside looks so very attractive at the moment with the fresh green of leaves and shoots appearing all around.

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  25. Horst I think we are very lucky. Since we joined the leisure group, we have discovered places nearby that we would never have discovered otherwise. It has been a lot of fun. Diane

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  26. Jane and Lance, the countryside is very green at the moment, we have had so much rain over the past few weeks. The problem though is that it going down to near freezing at night and the garden is struggling to cope, particularly the vegetables.

    We have really enjoyed joining this group and we have learnt much about local places that we would never have learnt any other way Have a great Sunday. Diane

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  27. I really like the old stone architecture and marvel at the quality that keeps it standing. Yet another great walk with the leisure group.

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  28. So, so beautiful this time of year in France. Awesome.

    Velva

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  29. Hi Diane, great to see local places to you through your eyes and I'm very excited by your new blog too. I just need more hours in the day!

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  30. What a lovely walk Diane, I love the bridge and that door charm too!

    In regard to your question: the bean is Wonder of Venice runner http://www.kingsseeds.co.nz/shop/Vegetables/Alpha+Search+for+Vegetables/Veges+A+to+B/Bean+Wonder+of+Venice+Runner-7058.html I eat the whole beans (in their pods) when they are young and yellow, but I left a few get too big and this was the result. The sellers says that they should be black, but these were definitely blue :-).

    Ciao
    Alessandra

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  31. Gaelyn, some of the stone work has been there for 100's of years and it always amazes me how it stays standing through weather, wars and general hardship. Diane

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  32. Velva March was stunning, April has been pretty dismal, it has turned very cool again and it has been very wet. Diane

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  33. Froggy I have decided that a 40 hour day may just about be enough!! On the other hand the more time you have, the more you will do, so perhaps that will still not be long enough! Thanks for finding the time to visit. Take care Diane

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  34. Alessandra, I am really intrigued by those beans, perhaps they will post me some, but first I will see if they are available closer to home. Thanks for your comment and answering my question. Diane

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  35. Gorgeous photography. Have not seen that vieux rose in ages but still like it a lot !
    happy sunday !
    anni

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  36. anni thanks for taking the time out to visit. Happy that you enjoyed this post. Diane

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  37. I'd love to take a walk with you! Such a gorgeous place and you spin its stories so well. I do love spring flowers.

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  38. lostpastremembered I wish you could walk with me. I think spring flowers are the best but they seem to go over very quickly. Diane

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  39. Hi Diane, wow... really gorgeous and excellent photographs. All your pictures are very well taken, they are beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Have a nice week ahead.Regards

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  40. Your area seems to be a real paradise!
    I would spend my time in hides watching and "shooting" the fauna!!
    You must see many birds!
    A lovely stroll through your eyes!
    Have a great day Diane!

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  41. Noushka, if only I had a good camera and a lot more time, I would be happy sitting in hides and seeing bird life other than what I see in my garden. There are many places here, but I need more hours in my day! Keep well Diane xx

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  42. What a lovely walk with a wide variety of pretty things to see. Have a good week.

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  43. Diane, what a wonderful walk!!
    France is always amazing!
    Have a great day, dear!
    http://janakitchen.blogspot.com

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  44. There is so much to see where you live! Beautiful photos Diane.

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  45. Lovely photos, as always and I especially like the quirky door hinges and the door bells. It looked like you had a lovely walk, which makes me think that I ought to take up walking again!

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  46. chcmichel it always amazes me how much there is to see here especially when walking with knowledgeable locals. Diane

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  47. Jana ★ I could not agree more, France is amazing and I love it here :) Diane

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  48. Mary Mum's Kitchen, we we asked what we love most about France last week, my answer was the peace and quiet here in rural France :) Diane

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  49. Amelia thanks for your very kind comment. I love sharing with those that are interested. Diane

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  50. Pam you are so right, I must run out at some stage! Diane

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  51. Vera we are not good walkers, but we enjoy the occasional odd walk with the group. As soon as the weather changes we will both be out on our bikes again which suites us better. It also means we can go a bit further afield. Diane

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  52. What beautiful landscapes. It looks like you are in the full flush of spring, Diane. I really enjoyed reading your post today. I hope you have a good day. I'm off to check your new blog. Blessings...Mary

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  53. Torviewtoronto it was a lovely day, how much nicer it is to take photos with a blue sky! Diane

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  54. Mary it was like a summer's day in March but we seem to be paying for it now, the weather in April is foul!! Take care Diane

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  55. You do get to go on some very interesting walks - these wee towns all look lovely. There are quite a few walkers in your group isn't there?
    It's really nice to see it through your eyes.

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  56. Hi Diane .. love the hinges - aren't they great .. then the spring flowers - ours are looking beautiful now - as we've had lots of rain.

    What a great trail across the countryside - you do find lots of hidden treasures on these local walks .. such fun to see ..

    Thanks - I'm at the library .. see if things work better here .. cheers for now - Hilary

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  57. Ellie we really enjoy this group despite the language difficulty as we are the only English. There are so many different places to walk here it is surprising. Diane

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  58. Hilary, We have now had too much rain I want to see some sun again. March was beautiful, but the weather now is horrible and no sign of it changing for a bit!! Diane

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  59. A gorgeous place to spend an afternoon walk! Heading out to your new blog.

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  60. chubskulit it was a lovely walk on a lovely day. The weather since has been terrible! Diane

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  61. Looks like a lovely walk on a lovely day, such interesting sights around every corner!

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  62. The Café Sucré Farine it amazes me just how much there is to see in France, and it is a big advantage walking out with the locals, they know all the unexpected places to go to. Take care Diane

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  63. Very interesting excursion Diane!!!!
    The church, the wonderful spring and the red door!
    Always well-
    many greetings

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  64. magda we had a lovely walk with great company. Take care Diane

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  65. i can read that you always enjoying all your walks, i would too. Each time i come to read about your walks, i feel like i'm walking with you but boy, 6km is a long walk for me! you must be so fit!!

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  66. Lena 6 km is a long way for me also!! I am so used to cycling and not walking. Diane

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  67. What a beautiful walk..I always enjoy going on these trips with you..It is such a quaint place and so much history, I am sure.
    I think the little altars are beautiful..We made a little altar in our lilac bushes. George put a large stone for each on of us to sit on, when we visited..It was cute to see the kids visit..Nothing as beautiful as your picture,Ours was very crude..but the thought was there..
    Carolyn

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  68. Carolyn these walks have been real eye openers to us, being with the locals they know so much about what is there and the history. The little chapel was lovely but it needed a bit of care. Diane

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  69. Diane, thanks so much for sharing such amazing photos of your trip. The cowslips look so beautiful. I don't think we have them here.
    Kristy

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  70. Kristy I am glad that you enjoyed the walk. There are so many cowslips here at this time of the year, the sides of the road are yellow. Diane

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  71. As you know Diane I just love these walks with your local group. All the tiny details are so important - curled hinges, different flower types, the heron scarecrow, that fantastic door chime - and things I would have noticed too had I been walking by your side.

    I don't think you will be surprised to know that the little chapel was my favourite and thank you for including so many views.

    X

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  72. Dolly you would have loved this walk it was a rare opportunity to see things local that we would never have found on our own, even rarer was the fact that it was a hot day in March!!
    The little chapel was something else, I have never seen anything quite like that. Diane

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